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Do adult children inherit credit card debt in probate?

On Behalf of | May 15, 2024 | Probate And Estate Law

Credit card debt is very common in the United States. In fact, recent reports show that total credit card debt has surpassed $1 trillion in the country. This is a major benchmark demonstrating how many Americans rely on some form of debt just to make ends meet.

This also means that many people pass away with some amount of debt remaining on their credit cards. They may be using these cards for everyday purchases like buying groceries or for recurring purchases, like paying the utilities. Even if someone has done significant financial planning and gotten rid of many of their major debts, they could have some remaining credit card debt that hasn’t been addressed. Does this mean their adult children are going to inherit that debt and be responsible for paying it off?

The personal representative pays the debt

Generally, unless children are also joint account holders or are cosigned on a loan, they will not inherit their parent’s debt after their death in Florida. That includes credit card debt. Children can inherit assets, but they do not inherit these financial obligations because they did not choose to take on that debt to begin with.

That said, the credit card company will not waive the debt because someone passed away. They still want to get paid. This is something that should be handled by the estate’s personal representative or executor, who is in charge of paying many different types of debt and settling these accounts. They will use the money from the estate to settle any debts, as they have access to bank accounts, investment portfolios and other financial assets. They generally pay down the debt before then distributing assets to beneficiaries.

This can be a complex time, financially speaking, so those involved need to be well aware of their legal options.